Ten minutes into the first episode of chef David Chang’s new PBS show “The Mind of a Chef” and one thing becomes unmistakably clear: This is unlike any other food or cooking show you’ve ever seen.
It is one of the best.
Forgetting for a moment that the show seems to combine the better aspects of other food, travel and cooking shows, what makes “The Mind of a Chef” so watchable is its distinctive, eye-catching visual aesthetic, which feels ripped from the pages of “Lucky Peach,” the eclectic food quarterly Chang launched last year with pal and food writer Peter Meehan.
But it is far from a matter of style over substance.
Like many seminal cooking shows have done, particularly those starring the incomparable Julia Child, “The Mind of a Chef’ leaves the viewer with a sense of having been in the chef’s presence, of having cooked alongside him and heard him talk about his culinary influences and his approach to food.
Not to mention, the show’s cooking segments are brilliant. Most home cooks won’t have the skill or the equipment necessary to replicate many, if not most, of the dishes Chang demonstrates for the camera, but seeing a genius like Chang in his element is never boring.
The same certainly can’t be said for other stir-and-talk cooking shows, in which the hosts are dull, dispassionate and often make recipes look deceptively easy.
“The Mind of a Chef” airs at 9 p.m. Fridays on ETV.
Follow reporter Patrick Donohue at twitter.com/IPBGPatrick.